Multi-family dwellings offer a unique and more affordable type of living than single-family homes. Condos often resemble apartment buildings or complexes at first glance and are often constructed in the same way with similar construction costs. The difference comes later in how the units are divided and used. A developer building an apartment complex may use it as a long-term investment property. A developer building a condominium complex may want a quicker turnaround by selling the individual units right away, and in some cases, before the building is finished or even started.
Like apartment buildings, condo buildings come in many sizes and types with a range of associated costs. The national average cost range to build a condominium building is $1 to $3 million, with most people paying around $2 million for a mid-range 20-unit building with a shared lobby and amenities. This project’s low cost is $300,000 for a 2-unit condo home in a suburban area. The high cost is $12 million for an upscale condominium complex with 100 units and shared amenities in an upcoming urban area.
|Condo Construction Cost|
|National average cost||$2M|
A condominium or condo is a multi-family dwelling that may look like an apartment building. They come in many sizes, from two-unit dwellings to major complexes with hundreds of units. While an apartment building is owned by one individual who rents out the units, each unit is individually owned in a condo building. You may choose to own a condo and live in the unit or own a unit and lease it to someone else.
In a condo, you are responsible for everything inside your unit. This includes how it looks and the necessary repairs. You also pay a monthly or yearly fee to the condo association, which is usually an elected board of representatives within the building. This fee covers maintenance and repairs of shared areas in the building. Like a homeowner’s association, a condo association may restrict what can and cannot be done to the building, but they generally have no say on what you do to the interior.
The cost of condo construction varies tremendously from unit to unit. Costs fluctuate due to the location, with urban areas costing more than suburban locations. Costs also vary depending on the unit type, amenities, and building type. This creates a cost range per square foot from $125 to $350 a square foot. These costs are for construction and do not account for land acquisition, parking, or the soft costs associated with listing and selling the finished units.
Like apartments and other types of multi-family dwellings, condos can sometimes be given costs on a per unit or square foot basis. This pricing structure makes it easier to compare the costs of a 10-unit building with a 20 or 100-unit building because square footage varies based on the units’ sizes and building size. The average cost range for condo building construction is $75,000 to $150,000 per unit. Some lower-end condos cost less to build, and higher-end buildings cost more, but most fall in this range.
|Number of Units||Average Costs (Labor Included)|
|2 Units||$150,000 - $300,000|
|10 Units||$750,000 - $1.5M|
|20 Units||$1.5M - $3M|
|50 Units||$3.75M - $7.5M|
|100 Units||$7.5M - $15M|
|200 Units||$15M - $30M|
Like any multi-family building, condo buildings can be built in different types. The average cost varies by the condo building type because of the differing number of units. In general, detached condos are the smallest and cheapest to build, while high rises are the largest and most expensive.
|Type of Condo||Number of Units||Average Costs (Labor Included)|
|Detached||1||$75,000 - $150,000|
|Low-Rise||5 - 50||$375,000 - $7.5M|
|Mid-Rise||50 - 200||$3.75M - $30M|
|High-Rise||200+||$15M - $50M|
The average cost to build a single detached condo is $75,000 to $150,000. A detached condo does not share walls with another unit. This makes it unique in terms of typical condos. The units are usually built as a group and governed by the same type of condo association. These are usually small homes, measuring less than 1,000 sq.ft. Unlike condos in a shared space, you have maintenance costs and responsibilities for your condo’s exterior. Its appearance and what you can do to the exterior are usually dictated by the condo association.
The cost to build a low-rise condo building averages $375,000 to $7.5 million. A low-rise condominium building contains between 5 and 50 units. Typically, low-rise buildings have 5 or fewer floors. Because of the height, these condos are generally less expensive to build. They are more common in suburban areas and may have shared amenities. Those with shared amenities usually have shared lobbies, fitness centers, and sometimes exterior features like pools.
The cost to build a mid-rise condo building ranges from $3.75 to $30 million. A building this size contains between 50 and 200 units. These buildings may cost more to build than smaller buildings, depending on the location and amenities. It is more common for these buildings to have shared amenities, including lobbies, fitness centers, and indoor or outdoor pools. These condos are found in urban and suburban areas.
The cost to build a high-rise condominium building is $15 to $50 million. A building this size usually contains more than 200 units. This is typically the most expensive condominium building to build overall and per unit. Costs at this size start to grow due to the additional structural needs of the building. These condos are more commonly found in urban areas and often contain more luxury features and several types of shared amenities.
Like many multi-family homes, you can build a condominium building in several styles. Most of these styles fall into one of a few categories. They are condexes, meaning duplex-style homes with a separate owner on either half or a type of detached condo. A few may also fall into small low-rise categories, with the exception of modern condos, which can take on any style. Costs to build are not greatly impacted by the building’s style.
Townhouse-style condos are basically townhouses with a governing body or condo association. The homes are attached in groups of two or rows. You own the interior of your living space, but the exterior is completely governed by the association. This has pros and cons. If the roof leaks, the association fixes it. However, if you want to install a ductless AC unit, you must get permission.
Ranch-style condos are typically a type of condex. This means the home’s exterior looks like an oversized ranch. However, it has two entrances in the front. The layouts on either side are identical, and each occupant owns their side. You work together and set aside an agreed-upon amount of money each month for exterior work and repairs. This means if the other unit has a leak in the roof, you are both responsible for fixing it, even if it does not impact you. These condos may be single or two-story, depending on the style.
Modern farmhouse condos can have several appearances. They can be built out of a pole barn, with 2 to 4 units inside. They can also be a single oversized farmhouse carved into 2 to 4 units. In general, these condos have a white board and batten exterior. They have two units up and two down or one unit on either side with two stories. The front-bottom units typically get access to the porch. The rear or top units usually have balconies.
Victorian condos are usually larger old Victorian homes divided into two units. They have a single front door and a shared interior lobby and staircase. Once inside, there is usually one unit on the first floor, with a second unit on the second and possibly third floors. These homes have the features of the original Victorian. This includes the exterior with gingerbread and distinct colors, the interior key-shaped doors, and small cozy rooms. You are more likely to find this condo in suburban areas with old neighborhoods.
Craftsman condos are usually detached or a condex. Craftsman homes come in many types of bungalows, four-squares, and Prairie-style. While these are normally built as single-family homes, bungalows are sometimes built as detached condos. They are usually constructed in neighborhoods because the homes are relatively small. While you own the entire property, you need approval from the condo association about exterior work. This means even routine exterior repairs could be subject to inspection and approval by the association.
In some areas, larger colonials may also be broken into condos. From the exterior, this appears to be a single-family colonial home. Once inside, you find the home is broken into 2 or 3 condos. Each has a private entrance from inside, with some having a separate side entrance direct to the condo. Each owner is responsible for their unit’s interior. The exterior is a shared expense and concern. Each condo owner pays into a condo association fund each month, with the money going toward exterior upkeep and repair.
Modern condos come in many types and styles. In urban areas, you may find modern condos in a high-rise building with shopping, restaurants, and amenities in the same building. In older urban areas, you may have modern condos carved out of old industrial buildings. These have more of a loft feel than some other homes. Modern condos usually have open floor plans and multiple amenities for residents. You pay a condo fee to offset the cost of these amenities and communal area repair and upkeep.
The cost breakdown for building a condo building is similar to the breakdown for building an apartment building. Costs rise in proportion to the building’s size and material quality. Luxury buildings have higher costs than mid-range or basic buildings, while high rises with 200 units cost more overall than a simple 2-condo building. The following cost breakdown shows the average percentages going into the project.
|Project Breakdown||Percent of Project Cost|
|Architect Fees||8.9% - 10% of the total cost (added)|
|Structural Engineer Fees||$500 - $20,000 as needed (added)|
|Contractor or Builder Cost||25% of the total cost (added)|
|Walls (wood) and Exterior Finish||6% - 10%|
|Roof and Cover||10%|
|Windows and Doors||5%|
|Interior Finish||6% - 10%|
|Floor Finish||3% - 5%|
|Interior Features||3% - 5%|
|Masonry Walls (if used in place of wood)||9% - 12%|
It is very common, especially in urban areas, for large buildings to be built modularly. This means large sections of the building are constructed off-site. The sections are moved into place and assembled at the building site. This results in stronger buildings with fewer weather-related delays and lower building costs.
Prices vary depending on the area but generally cost between $125 and $150 a square foot, making this construction method more affordable, especially for luxury high rises.
Profit margins vary depending on several factors, including the location, number of units, and condo type. Soft costs and closings also vary, impacting the bottom line. On average, most condo developers make around 20% to 25% of the total sale costs. This means if you sell a development in full for $20 million, expect to make a profit of $4 to $5 million.
If you choose to own a condo versus a single-family home, you pay your monthly mortgage and taxes and a monthly condo fee. This is paid to the condo association and designed to cover the costs of operating and maintaining the building and grounds. This rate varies tremendously by city, region, and building. A small condo building may charge $50 a month, while a luxury high rise may charge over $700. It depends on how many units, how large the building is, and the amenities.
Condos and apartment buildings are extremely similar. They are built using the same methods and materials and have very similar costs to build. The difference is that in a condo building, each occupant owns their unit. The building is owned by the condo association and paid for and maintained by the individual owners, who pay a monthly fee.
An apartment building is owned by a single entity, who rents out each unit. Renters do not own anything in the building and do not pay extra for maintenance costs. They are also not responsible for repairs or building upgrades, while condo owners are.
Building a condo building or apartment building have similar costs per square foot. Costs are ultimately determined by the number of units and location.
|Type||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)|
|Apartment||$85 - $400|
|Condo||$125 - $350|
Condos and townhouses have some overlap. Townhouses are owner-occupied units generally built in attached rows. They often have an association that helps handle the shared amenities and spaces, while the owner is responsible for the interior - and sometimes the exterior - of their unit.
You own only your unit in a condo, and the rest of the building is maintained by the condo association. You are not personally responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the building’s exterior or shared amenities, but you pay a monthly fee for those things.
In general, a townhouse has lower monthly fees but higher personal maintenance. Condos have less personal maintenance and upkeep, but they have higher fees.
Townhouses may be constructed by the unit, but condos are constructed by the building, making it difficult to compare costs.
|Type||Average Costs (Labor Included)|
|Townhouse||$111,000 - $222,000|
|Condo||$1M - $3M|
Living in a condo has pros and cons. Condos are a good place to start for people who want to own their own unit and grow equity. You are not renting nor subject to a landlord’s whims. However, you only own and have control over your own unit. You pay into a shared account to cover the costs of maintenance and repair for the entire building. This means if the roof leaks on the other side of the building, some of the money you pay into this shared account goes toward it. You also have less say in the building’s appearance. While you can take part in the condo association, you are governed by its rules.
This makes condos a good choice for seniors, younger people looking for starter homes, and those who travel. Your maintenance and upkeep are taken care of for you. However, condos are slow to appreciate. They are also difficult to sell, so you may not make a profit if you become tired of living close to your neighbors.
If the condo building you construct is large enough or is in an urban area, you may want to add a parking garage. Parking garages come in many shapes and sizes or can be underground for saving space. They have an average cost of $9.75 million to build but raise the property’s value.
Condos come in many forms. If you live in an urban or upscale area, you may build a luxury condo building to cater to the clientele. Luxury condos cost close to $400 a square foot to build. This is just the construction cost and does not consider land acquisition or soft costs.
This depends on your goals. Both are similar in living day to day. But a condo is occupant-owned, meaning you own your unit. An apartment building is owned by a single individual, giving the occupants less control but fewer fees.
A well-built condominium building can last for decades or longer, provided it is properly maintained.
A condominium is a multi-family dwelling where each occupant owns their unit. The building is maintained by a condo association, and each occupant pays into a general fund for maintenance. This is different from a single-family home that has one owner.
The average cost to purchase a single condo unit is $275,000, but costs vary by region. The cost to build a condo building is $1 to $3 million.